Chapters in Books (Centre for Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (SciSTIP))

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    Centres and institutes as academic organisational units
    (AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2016) Botha, Jan
    Introduction: A complex network of factors arise when academic organisational units are established or existing units are changed. These factors include academic values, convictions about the academic standards of disciplines or professional programmes, ideals and sentiments for the future and particular approaches of disciplines and/or professions. Then it becomes significant how power is used in staff appointments and in the allocation of resources, as the custodian of academic reputation plus individual and institutional development processes. In many universities traditions and customs determine how such issues are considered, debated and decided or are transformed into institutional policies and rules.
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    Institutional research in higher education in South Africa : Looking Ahead
    (SUN PRESS, 2016) Webber, Karen; Muller, Nicole; Botha, Jan
    The fact that the Southern African Association (SAAIR) is nearing its 25th year, is evidence that Institutional Research (IR) has built a strong presence in South African higher education. Unfortunately, this is not yet evident in other countries in the region. The professional practice that has become known as “institutional research” is, of course, much older than the Association that was established by IR practitioners. Similarly, IR encompasses much more in South and Southern Africa than the activities of the Association. IR continues to widen its areas of influence and support, and IR practitioners are called upon to assist in a myriad of decision-support tasks that will help to make higher education in South Africa and the region only stronger. IR practitioners are valued for their analytic and technical skills and their higher education practices and processes. They are also valued because of their ability to place the issues within the context of the specific institution, cognisant of unique student, staff, or historical and cultural issues that must be considered. As we reflect on the formation and current status of IR in South Africa as evidenced in this book, it is notable that the SAAIR was established in 1994, the year in which the first democratic elections in the country took place. South African society, including the higher education system, changed significantly in the first two decades of democracy. Despite these changes, the student protests in South Africa that erupted in 2015 and that continue in 2016, can be attributed to the students’ experience and their belief that much more remains to be done: huge inequalities remain in the system and in institutions, the demand for study opportunities outpaces the available opportunities, student fees have become unaffordable for most students, and at a deeper level, the curriculum and the ethos of higher education institutions still predominantly reflect Western values, traditions and practices. The transformation agenda that was inaugurated in 1994 remains unfinished. The story of IR in South Africa is closely intertwined with the transformation agenda, both in terms of the gains of the past twenty years, and also of the many changes that lie ahead.
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    The Synergy between the SAAIR Conference Events and South African Higher Education Policy Initiatives during 1994-2015
    (SUN PRESS, 2016) Botha, Jan
    Introduction: The focus areas of Institutional Research (IR) practitioners in South Africa and an analysis of the synergy between these focus areas and the major higher education policy developments during the first two decades of the democratic dispensation in South Africa are the concerns of this chapter. To what extent did these policy developments determine the priorities of IR practitioners, or, to what extent did the results of the work of IR practitioners provide the evidence on which these policies were based? Or, is this a complex, dynamic relationship and that plays out in both directions at different times and in different contexts? Despite various voices arguing for multiple new roles for IR, for example, Swing (2009), and Calderon and Webber (2015), Saupe’s (1981) and Dressel’s (1981) classic definition that IR is conducted to support institutional management, and by implication, to provide evidence on which (policy) decisions can be based, remains a valid expression of what institutional leaders and policy makers expect from IR. On the other hand, the extent to which higher education policy makers actually base their decisions on the information provided by IR practitioners, is not easy to demonstrate definitively with empirical evidence. Therefore no assertions will be made in this chapter regarding any possible causal link between higher education policy developments and the work of IR practitioners, and consequently the softer term “synergy” was chosen to characterise the aim of the study.
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    Institutional research in South African higher education: Framing the contexts and practices
    (SUN PRESS, 2016) Botha, Jan; Muller, Nicole; Webber, Karen
    Universities are among the oldest social organisations in the world. Few would doubt that universities are crucially important social organisations. The public and private good of universities is generally recognised (and widely debated, cf. Singh 2001). The broad range of purposes ascribed to universities and society’s expectations of the value added by universities add up to form an intriguing phenomenon which is the object of research in a range of academic disciplines and professional practices.